Ever wondered what the other people in the team really think of you? Well, here a certain architect (writing on condition of anonymity) lets you in on the secret …
Design team meetings are the bane of my life. Why are they so boring? Why do they take so long? Why do we talk in gobbledygooky anacronymic babble? And why oh why are so many people in the room? Can't we open a window please - I want to jump out.
I'm sure everyone has something to say about me. I'm the fluffy artsy designer, who's probably gay and does nothing but slow down the building process. But here is my view of the characters that I encounter, and the egos I have to manage.
The contractor's design manager used to be an architect before he sold his soul to the dark side and became employed by the developer. Now he relishes any chance to kick the real architect's arse, usually by sending snooty emails and copying in the client on every one.
Next is the QS, who usually covers her arse by doubling up on prelims wherever she can, and somehow losing 20% of the net lettable area, making us look bad.
The structural engineer is a frustrated designer who starts to slyly pick at the architectural integrity of the design, while proposing that we use the good ol' 305 × 305 UC, and notes that reducing the grid might actually increase the size of the columns.
The M&E engineer is normally an angry, red-faced man who says no to every request during co-ordination, and insists that his 50 million access panels in the ceiling are wholly necessary because each and every fan coil unit needs to be accessed every five minutes after the building opens, and by the way, those light fittings YOU chose have a tiny screw at the top that needs to be reached during installation, making the ceiling design unfeasible. "Yes alright, but can I move that sprinkler 100 mm to the left?" "NO!"
The environmental engineer remains mute throughout the entire meeting until his bit comes up. He is very keen on sustainability issues and carbon neutral operating systems, all extremely interesting, but you know that we will have to wait until the last minute for a drawing out of him, and then all we are really going to get is blue and red arrows swirling around the building.
The M&E engineer is normally an angry, red-faced man who says no to every request during co-ordination
The client, normally one of my favourite players in the team, will occasionally throw a huge spanner into the works, stalling the meeting for at least half an hour, as she requests a change. Silence descends upon the room … then a small private smile appears at the corner of the QS' mouth.
The subcontractor has seen our tender information but has, of course, decided to draw something completely different. When asked to provide what was actually asked for, the answer quickly comes back "Oh well, we haven't allowed for that". The smile on the QS' mouth slowly fades …
Sometimes there's the audiovisual specialist who thinks the whole team needs to know the exact frequency level of his state-of-the art equipment and makes some incredibly complicated joke about backup generators failing that nobody understands.
At some point, the planning supervisor - or anyone else - will quip that "if someone dropped a pencil off that bridge over the void it could have someone's eye out", and suddenly the meeting descends into a chaotic spiralling nightmare of
what ifs while I slump back in my uncomfortable chair. Lunchtime passed an hour ago, there are no biscuits, and the tea's gone cold. Please God, make it stop.
So let's try to keep things simple. The design team meetings' progress reviews do not need to be a coagulated mess. The contractor lives to build, the design teams lives to design: can't we all just get along? Or if not, at least let's just get on with it …
If you'd like to tell us your view of other team members (or any other subject) email us at email@example.com